*(Via Deadline) – Roaring out of a Super Bowl LV first half today that saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback Tom Brady battering favorites the Kansas City Chiefs 21-6, The Weeknd’s halftime show had a lot riding on it for the NFL, CBS and an America trampled and exhausted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a year of political and social unrest.
One word: touchdown.
The gold standard of Super Bowl halftime shows is, of course, the spellbinding performance by Prince back in 2007. Under scrutiny earlier this week and facing the biggest audience of his career now or likely ever, The Weeknd made a calculated side move and praised the late great Purple One.
He then said that his favorite halftime show was Diana Ross and the show that the Motown superstar put on in 1996 at Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium, helicopter enhanced exit and all.
Coming off the distinctly Latina dazzle that was Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s successful halftime stint last year in Miami, the Jessie Collins, NFL, Jay-Z and Roc Nation produced and Hamish Hamilton directed shindig decided to blow your mind technically and with a ton of neon, if you were an enthusiast of The Weekend’s decade of hits or not.
Before tonight’s performance, the singer born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye looked sucker punched and set up to fail or certainly pale in comparison to the whitebreadapalooza of Miley Cyrus’ pre-game Tailgate show (with guests Billy Idol and Joan Jett). A soaring rendition of “America the Beautiful” by H.E.R. and inaugural poet Amanda Gorman honoring pandemic frontline workers looked like a bar too high for anyone in or out of the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame to leap.
So The Weeknd pivoted.
In front of a masked and socially distanced crowd of 25,000 living and breathing fans, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers, and 30,000 life size cut-outs at Tampa Bay’s 70,000 capacity Raymond James Stadium, the 13-minute Pepsi sponsored show from the savvy singer tore through his greatest hits like a post-modern R&B legend in the making. Musically, starting out with 2015 “The Hills” to “Can’t Feel My Face,” “I Feel It Coming”, “Save Your Tears” and more, this was a lean mixtape in action – which is exactly what you want out of a good halftime performance.
Get the rest of this review at Deadline.
Meanwhile, below is Twitter reaction to The Weeknd’show:
it’s the violinists ft the weeknd in my opinion
— 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗯 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗼𝗻 (@calebsaysthings) February 8, 2021
my timeline is either ‘the weeknd is killing it right now’ or ‘i dont understand how this is supposed to be entertaining’ there is no inbetween
— tracy tracy bo bacey-hanks (@brokeymcpoverty) February 8, 2021
I really like The Weeknd’s songs but something isn’t connecting for me. #SuperBowl
— Tearsa Smith (@TearsaSmith) February 8, 2021
The Weeknd could’ve gave me $7 mil and I would’ve gave him something better than this
— The high sage💨 (@bri__jelly) February 8, 2021
What are your thoughts about The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime performance?